TPM News

Read the Labor Department’s December jobs report here. The U.S. economy added 200,000 new jobs in December, and unemployment has fallen to 8.5 percent.

Newt Gingrich appeared on ABC News' “Good Morning America” and turned up the heat on his rival, Mitt Romney.

“I think as people look at his record and then imagine him debating Obama, Obama is going to laugh at him,” the former House Speaker told his interviewers.

Gingrich has turned up his attack on Romney’s record in recent days, pointing to Romney’s win in Iowa of roughly 25% and suggesting his inability to go much beyond this in many polls shows he’s “unacceptable” to 75% of conservatives.

Gingrich said this was a point he’d continue to make on the stump in New Hampshire: “This is the place to point out how big the gap is between a Reagan conservative and a Massachusetts moderate."

The U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate has fallen to 8.5 percent, the lowest level in nearly three years. A total of 1.6 million jobs were gained in 2011.

Read the Labor Department’s December jobs report here.

While private employers added 212,000 jobs, the public sector cut 12,000 jobs, continuing the trend in government layoffs.

Manufacturing, health care, and education industries were all boosted in December, each adding more than 20,000 jobs. The construction industry, which has been hard hit by the recession, also picked up steam with another 17,000 workers hired.

In a late boost to his flagging campaign, Jon Huntsman scored one of the most coveted endorsements in the New Hampshire primary on Thursday: The Boston Globe.

"Among the candidates, only two stand out as truly presidential, Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman," the paper's editors wrote. "Both have track records of success, and both, through their policies and demeanors, have shown the breadth of spirit to lead the nation. But while Romney proceeds cautiously, strategically, trying to appease enough constituencies to get himself the nomination, Huntsman has been bold. Rather than merely sketch policies he articulates goals and ideals."

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In the month leading up to the Iowa caucuses, spending by candidates and the Super PACs supporting them flooded into the state. A large portion was dumped on the Iowa airwaves, where TV-watchers took in dozens of ads each day. But the pay-off was better for some candidates than others.

The first chart is the total amount of money spent, both by candidates and the independent groups supporting them, on TV ads. The second chart is the return on this investment -- in effect, how much money each vote cost.

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One step forward, two steps back?

After proudly announcing on Wednesday that its customers had streamed a record 2 billion hours-worth of content in the fourth quarter of 2011, Netflix had the rug pulled out from it on Thursday, confirming to The Wrap that HBO would stop providing DVDs and Blu-Rays to Netflix at discount.

Still, Netflix apparently doesn't anticipate anything stopping it from buying those discs at full price and then renting them to customers. As Netflix's communications director Steve Swasey told The Wrap: "Netflix will continue to provide HBO titles on DVD and Blu-ray to our members."

That's thanks to the "First Sale" doctrine, which allows the secondary owner of a copyrighted product to loan it out, permitting rental companies. The doctrine doesn't apply to streaming videos, however, which is where things get interesting.

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You know how when you're trying to avoid apologizing to someone who's upset you throw in a qualifier like "sorry you're upset" or "sorry you feel that way"? That's the type of classic non-apology that a Justice Department official gave to officials representing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio who were perturbed by the DOJ's press conference announcing the findings of an investigation into wide-spread civil rights abuses in Arpaio's office.

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Please see our update to this story here

Since Current TV hired Keith Olbermann last February, the lesser-known cable network has been building primetime programming centered around the progressive heartthrob. But according to recent reports, the relationship is starting to fray.

First, Current claimed Olbermann declined their offer to anchor the network's Iowa caucus coverage. A Current source, citing internal emails, told TPM that Olbermann was offered the chance to anchor multiple times. The source said she didn't know why Olbermann declined.

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The Indiana legislature is grinding to a halt this week, as Democrats work to stall the Republican majority from passing a law restricting the power of private-sector labor unions.

The "right-to-work" law would go beyond the current crackdowns on public-sector unions, by forbidding private-sector companies and unions from negotiating a contract that would require the collection of partial union dues from non-members.

Starting Wednesday, and continuing into Thursday, the Indianapolis Star reports, the state House has been unable to gavel into a session -- and protesters have once again descended upon the building.

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